Dreamer Girl - female portrait
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    Dreamer Girl - female portrait

    I drew this today, trying to convince myself that I'm good enough to warrant getting an Intuos4 Medium tablet since my Wacom Bamboo Fun A5 has been acting really strangely for about a week now (taking a long time to register the pen, parts of it not registering at all etc.). Based on a few comments I've gotten, it looks like I'm getting one.

    GIMP + Gimp Paint Studio
    (somewhat broken) Wacom Bamboo Fun A5
    ca 10 hours

    Name:  dreamer_girl__SMALL.jpg
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    (Latest version at last page)

    Last edited by Fillchiam; February 14th, 2010 at 04:45 PM.
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    the face tones are pretty good, (i know usuing a light blue for highlights is good)but the blue is too strong in this case, unless ofcourse there is a blue light source in which case her hair needs to have the same light blue highlights. also, your lines are very soft. dont be afraid to get some nice hard lines like at the jaw, her nose and lips.
    keep it coming!

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    I love doing portraits, and people in general: Get that Intuos! I'll be right behind you: I like my bamboo plenty, but I keep hearing how awesome the Intuos is. I would echo Euroption's comments here, but nice job on this though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Klaw View Post
    I love doing portraits, and people in general: Get that Intuos! I'll be right behind you: I like my bamboo plenty, but I keep hearing how awesome the Intuos is. I would echo Euroption's comments here, but nice job on this though.
    Life has never been the same since I lost access to the Cintiqs at work. I see they've release a $999 model, so perhaps we shall be reunited soon...

    As to the painting, I agree with DPaint. There is something needed to unify the brilliant reds of the hair and the blue highlights of the skin. Some blue light in the hair might be just the thing. There's something about the shape of the hair itself that feels off to me. The hard, strawlike strands around the temples seem incongruent with the pony tail. It's possible of course that the subject would have short choppy hair up front and on the sides and long hair in back, it's just that it calls my attention to it. Some long smooth strokes with a small, hardish brush might alleviate some of that.

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    I agree - here's what I notice:
    First - a straight-on portrait is pretty tough
    The eyes look "pasted on" because there isn't any sense of them in a socket - and they're pretty far off from realistic eye anatomy which is critical in such a direct portrait
    Everything is soft - cast shadows have crisp edges - form shadows have gradual transitions
    Her neck, shoulder, collarbone anatomy is underdeveloped
    The background is too close in value to her skin

    My sense is this is from imagination? No reference? I'm just wondering because it feels made up - like you were "guessing" at some of the anatomy and lighting. All those issues combine to make it rather weak because the anatomy isn't there and there is no sense of light. I hope that doesn't come off as too harsh - that is not my intent. My suggestion would be to try another one using reference and you'll probably see a big improvement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Euroption View Post
    the face tones are pretty good, (i know usuing a light blue for highlights is good)but the blue is too strong in this case, unless ofcourse there is a blue light source in which case her hair needs to have the same light blue highlights. also, your lines are very soft. dont be afraid to get some nice hard lines like at the jaw, her nose and lips.
    keep it coming!
    Thanks, I'll keep that in mind. The reason for the softness and strong light that I wanted to give the picture an "ethereal" and dreamlike quality, but I guess I kinda overdid it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Wallace View Post
    As to the painting, I agree with DPaint. There is something needed to unify the brilliant reds of the hair and the blue highlights of the skin. Some blue light in the hair might be just the thing. There's something about the shape of the hair itself that feels off to me. The hard, strawlike strands around the temples seem incongruent with the pony tail. It's possible of course that the subject would have short choppy hair up front and on the sides and long hair in back, it's just that it calls my attention to it. Some long smooth strokes with a small, hardish brush might alleviate some of that.
    Yeah, I'll try adding some blue light to the hair.
    The haircut is actually supposed to look like that - short in front and long in the back.

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post
    I agree - here's what I notice:
    First - a straight-on portrait is pretty tough
    The eyes look "pasted on" because there isn't any sense of them in a socket - and they're pretty far off from realistic eye anatomy which is critical in such a direct portrait
    Everything is soft - cast shadows have crisp edges - form shadows have gradual transitions
    Her neck, shoulder, collarbone anatomy is underdeveloped
    The background is too close in value to her skin

    My sense is this is from imagination? No reference? I'm just wondering because it feels made up - like you were "guessing" at some of the anatomy and lighting. All those issues combine to make it rather weak because the anatomy isn't there and there is no sense of light. I hope that doesn't come off as too harsh - that is not my intent. My suggestion would be to try another one using reference and you'll probably see a big improvement.
    Thanks for the advice.

    Yeah, it's drawn from imagination with no reference whatsoever. I tried to give it a "dreamy" quality, but I'll try making another one using references to see if I can put together something better.

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    I think that this is really good for no reference. Aside from all the crit thats already been handed out, I would say it's good to find some good reference photos, preferably of a person you know, from different angles, different lighting, ect. This way you have something to work from. The more you paint people though, you will learn, and these issues will slowly begin to resolve themselves. I would really like to see something/ somebody you did from a reference, just to see what you are capable of.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Klaw View Post
    I think that this is really good for no reference. Aside from all the crit thats already been handed out, I would say it's good to find some good reference photos, preferably of a person you know, from different angles, different lighting, ect. This way you have something to work from. The more you paint people though, you will learn, and these issues will slowly begin to resolve themselves. I would really like to see something/ somebody you did from a reference, just to see what you are capable of.
    Yeah, I hadn't considered critiquing the accuracy of the anatomy too thoroughly, simply because I thought of it as more of surrealistic piece. The colors instantly reminded me of Magritte.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Klaw View Post
    I think that this is really good for no reference. Aside from all the crit thats already been handed out, I would say it's good to find some good reference photos, preferably of a person you know, from different angles, different lighting, ect. This way you have something to work from. The more you paint people though, you will learn, and these issues will slowly begin to resolve themselves. I would really like to see something/ somebody you did from a reference, just to see what you are capable of.
    Thanks. I'll see if I can make something nice from references, and post here.

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    Funny coincidence, I just found this image in the deviantART stock galleries that would work really well for reference on this piece. Same artist has a number of good poses that you might want to look through, maybe there's something you can use in there.

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    a few things i noticed
    1) the eyes have no expression in them, while the mouth shows a look of discontent. they also don't really fit in with the rest of the picture.
    2) the bangs look like they are neatly swept together, but then there are the wispy pieces right above the eye that stick out from nowhere. o.o
    3) the short part of the hair on the left side is much shorter than the short hair on the right side. i dont know if you meant to do that or not, but it's really weird.

    besides that it looks great, the red is a nice color.

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    The one thing that's jumping out at me right now, is that the pupil on the right is not centered.

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    I'd have to say the lighting treatment is good, some issues with color temperature.

    The only thing that I would change definitely is the background value is to close to the value of the skin so it tends to blend.

    Good portrait though, keep up the good work

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marco Bubonic View Post
    I'd have to say the lighting treatment is good, some issues with color temperature.

    The only thing that I would change definitely is the background value is to close to the value of the skin so it tends to blend.

    Good portrait though, keep up the good work
    Just curious as to what you think is good about the lighting in this piece?

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    Yeah I have to agree about the lighting, right now it is all over the place, the bow on her braid the shadow is above the bow but her chin is casting a shadow on her neck

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    I'm at school right now, so I can't post an update, but I'll do so when I get home. I've tried to fix the lighting on the hair and the strong highlights, and I've repainted the eyes completely. I have also done some retouching with a hard brush to get sharper lines, and I'm currently working on fixing some of the anatomy and shadowing.

    I've also been thinking about redoing the background completely (right now it's just a gradient ), any ideas?

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    I really like this picture! Especially your choice of colors - they work so well.

    It would be good to add some depth. Too many mid tones. You need more darks and lights.

    Also, please refer to the rough copy of your picture that I added - note the violet outline added that defines the eye socket. This is so important in defining the structure of the face around the eye because it defines the shadows and their depth. Light always gets in between the bridge of the nose and the juncture of the lids, and the light runs right up to the iris on the lower lid.

    Also, it's rather masculine to have the eyes like parallel lines, but even with men the ends are boxy, not tapered. With women and children the eyes are more round. This is true of Asian women also, it's just that more of the eye is covered by lid then in Caucasians.

    Not only is the eye more round, but there is often a fold above the lid. The lashes are usually not all that visible except as a broad dark area on the outside top edge.

    There is a strong shadow running the length of the iris just below where it runs into the upper lid. This should be almost as dark as the pupil.

    And there is usually a light source which has to be consistent for both eyes, but not always. Since you have one I went with it. You left out where the light comes in though. It comes into the iris as a more or less bright spot, bounces through and diffuses into a broader area on the opposite side. You have the broader area, at the bottom of the irises, but not the corresponding entry bright points. I put them in just to show on the woman's right eye.

    There is usually a wide swath of light that runs from the top middle of the nose at a right angle to the cheek. The mouth looks rather morose, and maybe you meant this, but just for fun I put a bit of a smile on the corner of her mouth. It's amazing how much emotion you can squeeze out of that tiny little area called the corner of the mouth!

    As always, I worked to increase the contrast in tone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jesaisrien View Post
    I really like this picture! Especially your choice of colors - they work so well.

    It would be good to add some depth. Too many mid tones. You need more darks and lights.

    Also, please refer to the rough copy of your picture that I added - note the violet outline added that defines the eye socket. This is so important in defining the structure of the face around the eye because it defines the shadows and their depth. Light always gets in between the bridge of the nose and the juncture of the lids, and the light runs right up to the iris on the lower lid.

    Also, it's rather masculine to have the eyes like parallel lines, but even with men the ends are boxy, not tapered. With women and children the eyes are more round. This is true of Asian women also, it's just that more of the eye is covered by lid then in Caucasians.

    Not only is the eye more round, but there is often a fold above the lid. The lashes are usually not all that visible except as a broad dark area on the outside top edge.

    There is a strong shadow running the length of the iris just below where it runs into the upper lid. This should be almost as dark as the pupil.

    And there is usually a light source which has to be consistent for both eyes, but not always. Since you have one I went with it. You left out where the light comes in though. It comes into the iris as a more or less bright spot, bounces through and diffuses into a broader area on the opposite side. You have the broader area, at the bottom of the irises, but not the corresponding entry bright points. I put them in just to show on the woman's right eye.

    There is usually a wide swath of light that runs from the top middle of the nose at a right angle to the cheek. The mouth looks rather morose, and maybe you meant this, but just for fun I put a bit of a smile on the corner of her mouth. It's amazing how much emotion you can squeeze out of that tiny little area called the corner of the mouth!

    As always, I worked to increase the contrast in tone.
    Thank you for the input, jesaisrien. Your paintover looks a bit like the improvements I have made to the picture (I'll upload it as soon as I get home!), in the original I hardly put any effort into the eyes. I have also made the mouth, nose and chin more detailed, as well as tried to fix the lighting on the hair and reshaped the eye sockets (still without the use of direct reference, though).

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    Here's the harsh truth: an Intuos is a waste of time and money for you. Don't get it. Buy a pencil instead and use use use use use it. Ignore the level 1 and 2 guys here telling you your painting is great. You've got a long way to go to be ready for painting. Master line art. When your line art impresses people who have worked as artists, then you can move on to shading. By that time there will be a newer Intuos out. Save yourself a lot of time and money and do it right.

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    Agreed - that is harsh (well, not so much harsh as just real) - and also true. Digital tools are really hindering a lot of people from developing as artists. So is this strange notion of working without reference. Figurative artists and illustrators work from life - always have.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack the R View Post
    Here's the harsh truth: an Intuos is a waste of time and money for you. Don't get it. Buy a pencil instead and use use use use use it. Ignore the level 1 and 2 guys here telling you your painting is great. You've got a long way to go to be ready for painting. Master line art. When your line art impresses people who have worked as artists, then you can move on to shading. By that time there will be a newer Intuos out. Save yourself a lot of time and money and do it right.
    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post
    Agreed - that is harsh (well, not so much harsh as just real) - and also true. Digital tools are really hindering a lot of people from developing as artists. So is this strange notion of working without reference. Figurative artists and illustrators work from life - always have.
    Thanks for the advice, but I will still be getting the Intuos. I'm aware that I've got a long way to go before I even get close to a somewhat professional level of skill, but the Intuos has a lot of functions that will help speed up my workflow in other areas than just digital painting (and I have money right now that I most probably will not have later). I work a lot with traditional media too, and I try to practice my line art as much as I can. This picture was just an experiment to see how good I am right now with digital work, and as you can see I have a lot of practice to do in both line art and shading. As for not using reference, that was simply something I wanted to try to see how it would turn out. But thank you both, I will definitely try to spend more time practicing line art than I currently do (and, in due time, hopefully manage to achieve some level of mastery of it).

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    This seems like a good thread to jump in on. Can't help myself.

    Absolutely get the Intuos. Though perhaps a good Intuos 3 as opposed to an Intuos 4. I've heard some things about the 4 that might get a little annoying after a bit. I've been running an Intuos 3 for years and it's great.

    You will have some people around these forums, as you will everywhere else, who will try to convince you that traditional mediums are the magic solution to becoming a great artist, and that since digital painting didn't exist in the past that following the tradition of our forefathers is the only way to achieve what you want.

    It is apparent to any and all who frequent these forums, that wonderful works of art can be made in an entirely digital format. If traditional mediums really were the key to being a great artist, then surely those who dwell in them so much would be able to step into a digital medium and excel in some special way.

    This is not the case. Everyone is different. Some people enjoy staring at a bottle and painting a bottle with their traditional paints on their physical, real life canvas. And they think that doing so feels so much better than painting a dragon or a demon hamster exploding. Some people, even if they painted the most realistic bottle in the world and captured that real life scene with a beautiful and wondrous accuracy, would still feel like they'd wasted their time. They would rather study the bottle, and then paint the bottle exploding. Or eating a mouse. Or sharing some idea that didn't exist - even if it wasn't wondrously accurate to real life. Is that not the very meaning of "concept artist"? To create a concept? One that requires...thought? ...creativity?

    People are different, and nobody, not even I, can tell you for certain what you will like - or how you will learn best. It is something you will have to discover for yourself.

    The simple truth of the matter, is that digital painting is just another medium. With every ounce of legitimacy and worth as a pencil, a paintbrush, or a piece of charcoal. I've been working almost exclusively digital over these past several years, and my understanding of the core concepts and my talent as an artist has increased many times over - even in traditional mediums! Just like traditional works can help you in other areas, can digital mediums help you in other areas, even the traditional ones. No medium is the magic fix. No medium is of magical worth. They all require a different understanding, different techniques, have different possibilities associated with them.

    If you want to go for it, by all means go for it. The painting you have hear is not a masterful work of art, but you are still young. And if you want to do digital painting - pursue it with all you're worth.

    Good luck to you. And feel free to hit me up in a PM if you want someone to talk to or ask questions along the way. I'd be happy to help.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Two Listen View Post
    This seems like a good thread to jump in on. Can't help myself.

    Absolutely get the Intuos. Though perhaps a good Intuos 3 as opposed to an Intuos 4. I've heard some things about the 4 that might get a little annoying after a bit. I've been running an Intuos 3 for years and it's great.

    You will have some people around these forums, as you will everywhere else, who will try to convince you that traditional mediums are the magic solution to becoming a great artist, and that since digital painting didn't exist in the past that following the tradition of our forefathers is the only way to achieve what you want.

    It is apparent to any and all who frequent these forums, that wonderful works of art can be made in an entirely digital format. If traditional mediums really were the key to being a great artist, then surely those who dwell in them so much would be able to step into a digital medium and excel in some special way.

    This is not the case. Everyone is different. Some people enjoy staring at a bottle and painting a bottle with their traditional paints on their physical, real life canvas. And they think that doing so feels so much better than painting a dragon or a demon hamster exploding. Some people, even if they painted the most realistic bottle in the world and captured that real life scene with a beautiful and wondrous accuracy, would still feel like they'd wasted their time. They would rather study the bottle, and then paint the bottle exploding. Or eating a mouse. Or sharing some idea that didn't exist - even if it wasn't wondrously accurate to real life. Is that not the very meaning of "concept artist"? To create a concept? One that requires...thought? ...creativity?

    People are different, and nobody, not even I, can tell you for certain what you will like - or how you will learn best. It is something you will have to discover for yourself.

    The simple truth of the matter, is that digital painting is just another medium. With every ounce of legitimacy and worth as a pencil, a paintbrush, or a piece of charcoal. I've been working almost exclusively digital over these past several years, and my understanding of the core concepts and my talent as an artist has increased many times over - even in traditional mediums! Just like traditional works can help you in other areas, can digital mediums help you in other areas, even the traditional ones. No medium is the magic fix. No medium is of magical worth. They all require a different understanding, different techniques, have different possibilities associated with them.

    If you want to go for it, by all means go for it. The painting you have hear is not a masterful work of art, but you are still young. And if you want to do digital painting - pursue it with all you're worth.

    Good luck to you. And feel free to hit me up in a PM if you want someone to talk to or ask questions along the way. I'd be happy to help.
    Thanks for the kind words. I guess I'll do what I've done so far - use any medium I can get my hands on and try to improve my technique as much as I can in the fields that interest me (and the ones which are boring, but necessary).

    As for the Intuos, the reason I'm getting an Intuos4 is that I can get it cheaper since I'm sending my Bamboo Fun back on the warranty. If Komplett (the place I bought it at) can't repair it, I can get an Intuos4 and only pay the difference. I actually checked out the prices for Intuos3 tablets while looking around for a new one, and they were (strangely enough) more expensive than buying an Intuos4. I didn't check second hand prices though, as I want it to last for as long as possible and thus feel like the best idea is getting a new one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fillchiam View Post
    Thanks for the kind words. I guess I'll do what I've done so far - use any medium I can get my hands on and try to improve my technique as much as I can in the fields that interest me (and the ones which are boring, but necessary).
    This is the way to go, from my experience. It's perfectly possible to learn and understand the core concepts used in art and illustration using almost any medium, but there is a seperate worth to be had in using many different ones. I've been working primarily digital for years (and still have a LONG way to go), because I find it faster and because I've got a thing with messes. ...don't really like anything that drips, or could get smudged. Don't really know why. But recently I've been getting back into pencil work as well - and even picked up a speedball pen and calligraphy set. It will be a joy to combine them all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fillchiam View Post
    As for the Intuos, the reason I'm getting an Intuos4 is that I can get it cheaper since I'm sending my Bamboo Fun back on the warranty. If Komplett (the place I bought it at) can't repair it, I can get an Intuos4 and only pay the difference. I actually checked out the prices for Intuos3 tablets while looking around for a new one, and they were (strangely enough) more expensive than buying an Intuos4. I didn't check second hand prices though, as I want it to last for as long as possible and thus feel like the best idea is getting a new one.
    That makes sense, it's been a fair while since I looked around at tablets pricing wise. The Intuos 4 is a solid tablet, to be sure. I'd just read about the pen nibs wearing down a little faster due to the texture of the surface sheet. But it comes with several nibs, and you should be good to go for what you're doing now. Buying new is probably the way to go anyway. Also, don't feel like you need to tell yourself "I have to be this _____ good before I buy a tablet." I bought my tablet when I was...15 or 16, I think. And I sucked with it. I sucked bad. I could do some pretty neat linework stuff but as soon as I turned to the tablet...totally different experience. But now I'm extremely comfortable with it, and it has helped me across the board in many, many ways.

    You may have a different experience, it is not likely anyone can predict how you'll learn best. But you keep walking your path like you're doing, and before you know it people will be asking you for advice.

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    Two Listen is right - you can learn with whatever medium and tools get you excited. Some are just easier. What is important is to work from life and study the fundamentals. I've been working with traditional materials for about 30 years, digital tools for about 25 - I enjoy both. Digital is actually my primary medium but it wasn't until I got serious about studying the fundamentals and working from life that I really began to grow as an artist.

    Use whatever gets you there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Two Listen View Post
    That makes sense, it's been a fair while since I looked around at tablets pricing wise. The Intuos 4 is a solid tablet, to be sure. I'd just read about the pen nibs wearing down a little faster due to the texture of the surface sheet. But it comes with several nibs, and you should be good to go for what you're doing now. Buying new is probably the way to go anyway. Also, don't feel like you need to tell yourself "I have to be this _____ good before I buy a tablet." I bought my tablet when I was...15 or 16, I think. And I sucked with it. I sucked bad. I could do some pretty neat linework stuff but as soon as I turned to the tablet...totally different experience. But now I'm extremely comfortable with it, and it has helped me across the board in many, many ways.

    You may have a different experience, it is not likely anyone can predict how you'll learn best. But you keep walking your path like you're doing, and before you know it people will be asking you for advice.
    My Bamboo Fun is actually my second tablet - the first one was an A4-sized tablet from Trust, which sucked pretty bad. Battery driven pen, lots of nib wear and after some time it lost pressure sensitivity. I think I got that one when I was... well, a few years ago. I might have been thirteen or fourteen, can't really remember. Anyhow, I've tried both Bamboo and Graphire tablets, and I really dislike the slippery plastic of the Graphire. A more paper-like surface feels much nicer.

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post
    Two Listen is right - you can learn with whatever medium and tools get you excited. Some are just easier. What is important is to work from life and study the fundamentals. I've been working with traditional materials for about 30 years, digital tools for about 25 - I enjoy both. Digital is actually my primary medium but it wasn't until I got serious about studying the fundamentals and working from life that I really began to grow as an artist.

    Use whatever gets you there.
    I tend to work more from life when I use traditional materials, mostly because it's easier to draw on a sketch pad than a computer when I'm not at my desk. I take an art class every week after school and have done so for the last 8 or so years (that is, since I was 10 years old), and thanks to that I have at least some experience working with traditional materials.
    I really hope to improve my technique with both traditional and digital media, and this fall I will hopefully be going northward to study computer graphics at gsCEPT (the computer graphics and game design department of Luleċ University of Technology) in Skellefteċ. The first year there is mostly studying traditional art, and due to the geographical location I will probably spend a lot of time practicing my art to avoid going outside in the winter.

    I've now realised that this version of the painting was really nowhere near completion, and a lot of things are really quite bad with it. I am currently trying to find all the small things I can improve to come closer to displaying what really is "the best I can do".

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    Cool - look forward to seeing it! You're lucky to have that art class as well - wish I'd had that growing up!

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post
    Cool - look forward to seeing it! You're lucky to have that art class as well - wish I'd had that growing up!
    Yeah, it's really great. We've got this thing in Sundsvall where the kids in fourth grade get to take lessons at Kulturskolan (The School of Culture) in Art, Drama, or pretty much any instrument. I started out playing the violin but due to severe burns after a fire in our house in (I think) early 2002 my fingers were too sensitive to be able to handle the strings, which lead to me coming with a friend to the Art class instead. He dropped out after a few years, I stayed, and I'm now in the oldest group there.

    Anyway, here's how far I've come on the painting. I've reworked the face a bit - completely repainted the eyes, reworked the mouth and nose a bit, tried to fix the strong highlights and put some more blue light on the hair. I made a lot of lines sharper, too.
    I'll probably repaint the body tomorrow, or at least start doing so - I'll be in school all day and working at a concert in the evening and won't have much free time to spare. I can't decide whether to keep the background as it is (possibly changing the tone a bit, to make her stand out more) or add a cracked wall or something.

    Small things I can see that I should fix:
    * The left eye looks a bit wrong.
    * The nose could be improved.
    * The shadow from the braid and bow. Generally try to unify lighting and shadows and make them look more realistic.

    Other than that, possibly adding details to the hair and braid and giving the skin a little more texture.

    Oh well, I have to sleep now. Just remembered that we start 9.30 instead of 10.40 tomorrow.

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    I dunno if it's just my eye, but her whole face seems to slant to the (viewer's) right. Her right eye seems higher than her left, and the mouth seems on a similar angle. Perhaps if you work out the facial features on a separate layer without the hair to distract, it might be a bit easier to see what's up. And flipping, of course, helps a lot with figuring out what problems might exist.

    That said, the proportions seem more or less right. Her nose seems a bit prominent, I'd pull back on the shading there a little, and her nostrils are really small. But overall, a big improvement.

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